Recommended by Ricardo Soltero-Brown

  • Bound
    24 Feb. 2024
    With all the verve of a David Henry Hwang play, Stephen Callum Byrum has Rhett look around the set as someone not only out of place but perhaps in the right place at the right time. What follow is perhaps a mix of Suzan Lori-Parks, Sarah Kane, and Christopher Durang if not Jeremy O. Harris. However there are surprisingly gentle, nuanced, nervous, vulnerable and consensual motions rendered by Byrum. An investigation into "Freedom" that both unnerves and provokes. With questions about what ratifies as a secret. It has the beats of a full-length play and all the emotion with it.
  • Therese
    30 Dec. 2023
    Echoes of Agatha Christie. Character relationships are introduced nicely. Dialogue, events, everything moves briskly, which is good, in a good way. The reveals are good. There are exchanges that have a nice Raymond Chandler complexity to them - the balance between natural conversation and necessary exposition is really well handled. The clues are cleverly placed. Reversals are impressive. Brenton Kniess even has the false thing to the puzzle speech before the true thing to the solution speech, which is key to the detective murder mystery story - sorry, must keep these things secret. Brenton Kniess knows exactly what he's doing.
  • Bart and Arnie
    22 Dec. 2023
    The power of friendship especially comes through during the existential crisis testing two people. In that instance it's important one can help another appreciate the finer, if smaller, things in life. With obvious allusions to Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot', they're also poignant perfumes of Marie Jones' 'Stones in His Pockets', Tennesee Williams' 'Out Cry', and other tragicomic two-character plays. Bart's issues satisfy the longing for recognition in all of us, while Arnie's efforts are a testament to human creativity. There is heart-wrenching conflict from the question if one is listening to the other regarding all of life's problems. Beautiful.
  • The Fierce Urgency Of Now
    10 Dec. 2023
    Doug DeVita's dialogue is like a roller coaster, you have to buckle in because you're in for a ride. The character work on the page is particularly astounding, everyone has their own little ticks, sayings, triggers, etc. The toxic work environment is viscerally rendered through dynamics between Kate and, well, everybody. The tension in the office reaches the levels of satire in Branden Jacobs Jenkins' GLORIA or Caryl Churchill's SERIOUS MONEY, mixed with the actualization dramas of Tarell Alvin McCraney (MARCUS, etc.) or the acerbic works of Christopher Durang. The multimedia aspects never get in the way, rather they immerse.
  • From the Top
    10 Dec. 2023
    The time-honored Rashomon experience of the play is made all the more potent by the characters personifying their proverbial positions/jobs. Clever. As romantic as this comedy of manners can be, the play magnifies behavior with the weight of a Carl Theodor Dreyer film; nothing anybody does works--which is proper Drama. The misbehavior enters with the secrets and misinterpretations. The cadence of the wit, the dialogue is natural yet metric, driving, impulsive, engaging. The theatre gags are hysterical, elevating both the pathos and humor to levels of Noël Coward. Sickles has created a Rube Goldberg machine for the heartstrings.
  • Dance Into Night
    9 Dec. 2023
    With the terrifying elegance of Kate Chopin or Carson McCullers, Ken Love has written a play with a fogged-up energy, a mist-fueled southern noir complete with gothic dreams and a vulturous saxophone. The dialogue is rich and rhythmic, sounding as smooth as double-oaked barrel bourbon. The story is weaved together with themes of family, ghosts, ghosted families, saturating the plot with the significance of branches on a family tree. Love prunes branches and leaves from scene to scene without warning, tending to a structure that's always ahead of us. Altogether it has the effect of a tense, dire family sit-down.
  • The Tenth Voyage of Capitano Giangurgolo Coccodrillo Fanfarone Matamoros Spavento
    8 Dec. 2023
    One need not be familiar with the work of Mel Gordon to enjoy this commedia dell'arte, yet scholars and general audiences alike will relish in this lazzi spettacolare with the same stupefying awe as one does when discovering the works of Dario Fo, Antonio Fava, even Jacques Lecoq. Francesco Andreini and Flavio Scala may be lost to the ages, but Ian Thal has resurrected Il Capitano to resplendent heights in this marvel of theatre that decides to leap bounds over Plautus and Terence with Spavento's braggadocio, incorporating characters as gargantuan and mythical as his narrative, highly suspect, tales of bravado.
    8 Dec. 2023
    A proverbial culture war occurs in the bedrock of civilization in this political drama by Vince Gatton. Dialogue is raw, bold, staggering, witty. Current societal vistas are laid bare regarding religious freedom, marital rights, class privileges, youth's dreams, gender expression, first-world problems, etc. As a resident of Florida, known for being a cultural vacuum (if not void), a great deal of the play rang not only true, but familiar. Reminiscent of the social dramas of Emilio Estevez or Michael Tolkin's THE RAPTURE, the heart bleeds off the page. The central twist is as incendiary as the play's titular historical catastrophe.
  • The Court of Public Opinion
    8 Dec. 2023
    Kudos to each character having a number of monologues about character, truth, and justice that are immediately seen as accurate, impressive, and humorously written. The dialogue is crisp, and clear, and natural, signs of a Christopher Soucy play. Add drugs. And a friend. Relationships will be tested. Well, it gets interesting and intricate and tense. Soucy expertly reveals information so that we're constantly guessing and finding out just a little bit more, without us feeling like the rug has been deviously pulled out from under us. We're on the hook. Soucy knows how to write direct, human-based conflict, and drama.
  • The Bench
    7 Dec. 2023
    A poignant reflection on a love, though now lost, that is embodied in a token, however strange or simple it may be. That token that remains never seems up to us, be it a place, a car, a song, whatever curio in which it takes form there is a whole world inside. More power to those who this curio expands their universe instead of breaks them down, for love is meant to have ourselves grow, not to close us off. I can't tell you how many times my curio has made me cry. Perhaps choose one that symbolizes you both.